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Differences Between Federal And MO State Criminal Charges

criminal charges

If you find yourself charged with a crime, you may believe all crimes are considered equal. However, depending on whether the charges are federal or state, there can be many differences regarding sentencing, standards of guilt, types of evidence used against you, and many other aspects. Therefore, if you are facing this situation, rely on an experienced Missouri criminal defense attorney to help navigate the complexities between federal and state charges. 

Federal Cases are Broad 
In a federal case, there are often 10 or more defendants, while state criminal charges are usually against only you and perhaps one or two other defendants. Because of this, those facing federal charges are much more likely to cooperate with authorities, since this allows them to gain immunity from prosecution, or to get a reduced sentence. 

Circumstantial Evidence 
If facing federal charges, circumstantial evidence will be the prosecution’s main weapon against you. But with state charges, physical evidence, rather than witness statements, is the primary source of evidence. Since this can make a tremendous difference in the outcome of your case, rely on the advice of a Kansas City defense lawyer

Conspiracy Allegations 
When charged with federal crimes, prosecutors will likely allege you are part of a broader conspiracy. However, if facing state charges, conspiracy allegations are rarely part of the prosecution’s case. 

Judge or Jury? 
In perhaps the most striking difference between federal and state charges, only judges can impose sentences in federal cases, while either a judge or jury can decide state charges. However, death sentences are an exception. In these situations, a jury must determine evidence exists to issue a death sentence. 

Due to the numerous complexities associated with these various charges, consult with an experienced Missouri criminal defense lawyer such as John A. Picerno to ensure your legal rights are protected while your case plays out in court.